Victoria, British Columbia, is a wonderful place to visit because it boasts the mildest climate in Canada. Therefore, visitors can enjoy many different outdoor attractions and shopping opportunities. One of my favourites is checking out the public markets. There are several different markets open between the months of April and October.
Public markets are appealing because they offer a wide range of different items, sold directly by the artisan or grower, which makes it much more personal. Markets may sell a variety of local produce, meat, seafood, cheese, bread, bakery items, along with artwork, handicrafts and jewellery. Even when I am staying in a motel or hotel and don’t have kitchen facilities, I like to buy food from a market for snacks or picnic supplies.
Bastion Square Public Market
This open air marketplace is in Bastion Square, minutes from the Inner Harbour and just off the water. It’s located between Government and Wharf, and Yates and Fort Streets. The market opens at 10:00 a.m., every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from mid-April to the beginning of October.
It features a selection of locally designed and produced arts and crafts. The artists and artisans are on site, displaying their work. Bastion Square also has a wide variety of pubs, restaurants and cafes making it a good place to spend an afternoon.
Ship Point Night Market
I love the atmosphere of markets that are only open in the evening. There seems to be an entertainment vibe that can be a nice break after taking in the regular tourist attractions. Especially when the market is located right in Victoria’s Inner Harbour at Ship Point Pier.
The market features food, musicians and street performers. Local handmade arts and crafts are also available. It’s open from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from mid-June to mid-September.
Sunday Market in the Square
The Sunday Market is located in Centennial Square, next to City Hall. It’s open on Sundays (and some holiday Mondays) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from May to September.
Visitors can find arts, crafts and fair trade imports, along with farmer’s market fare such as local produce, cheeses, jams, relishes, breads and more. This is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon, sipping a specialty coffee and enjoying the live entertainment in the square.
James Bay Community Market
This market is located at the corner of Menzies and Superior Streets in James Bay, one block from the Empress Hotel.
It’s open every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from May until October. The market features food, produce, arts and crafts and live music. The key words here are homemade, handmade and homegrown.
Moss Street Market
Moss Street Market is celebrating their 20th season of providing local and organic produce, handmade goods, and artisan clothing. It’s open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Saturday from the beginning of May until the end of October.
Located at the corner of Moss Street and Fairfield Road, in the heart of the Fairfield Gonzales neighborhood, not far from Beacon Hill Park.
Oaklands Community Farmer’s Market
Oaklands market is open from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., the first Thursday of each month from May to September. It’s located on Belmont Avenue in the Oaklands neighborhood.
Visitors can shop for local produce, bakery items, beauty products, and local handmade arts and crafts. The market boasts a fun atmosphere with live music, entertainment, demonstrations, and a kid’s table.
Victoria Downtown Farmer’s Market
This farmer’s market focuses on local produce and local products like bread, meat, seafood, cheese, and ice cream.
The market is located in Market Square, on Johnson Street, in the heart of downtown Victoria. It’s open from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month from April until August.
Much of the information in this article was provided by the Summer 2011 edition of CITYVibe, which is a city of Victoria publication. The following website was also very helpful in providing specific information about the markets: www.victoria.ca